Lesson 13 Video

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Lesson 13

Lesson 13 - Folsom Prison Intro

Folsom Prison Blues - Intro Riff

Lesson Goals:

♦ Review single note picking
♦ Practice string bending
♦ Incorporate with previous lesson to play complete song

Here is the intro riff for Folsom Prison Blues. The lick incorporates single note picking, using all down strokes, along with a note bend like we did on Tulsa Time.

As you can see, you will play three successive notes in the 2nd fret of the 5th string with the 2nd finger – then two successive notes on the 1st fret of the 4th string with the 1st finger – then a single note back on the 2nd fret of the 5th string with the 2nd finger – then with the 3rd finger on the 3rd fret of the 6th string you will do a slight bend – and then finish it up with a single note on the open 6th string.

Here is the tab for the lick.

13_folsom intro tab


If you're feeling froggy here's an extra bonus for you to work on. Below is the TAB for the lead section of Folsom Prison Blues. There are many versions of this, depending on which recording you listen to, but this is our interpretation that has been simplified in some areas to make it easier to learn.

Take a look at the TAB:

folsom lead 02

The first 2 notes are a hammer-on (see "Lead Guitar 101 - Lesson # 3). This is the most recognizable part of the lead and it should sound familiar to you as soon as you play it.

When you reach the 4th measure you will employ some alternate picking and strumming that will last throughout the rest of the lead. This is real "Chet Atkins" kind of playing!

In the 4th measure you play the note on the 7th fret of the 4th string, then strum the next three notes together. To simplify this - you will hold down the first 4 strings in an "A" chord at the 5th fret, using the shape of an open "F" chord. We have not reached those chords in the course yet but give it a try!

Then while continuing to hold that chord formation, you will pick the illustrated notes and strum the chord in between. Then you wind up that section with the 3 note chord on the 9th fret, at the end of the 5th measure. This chord, by the way, is just another inversion of an "A" chord. (we will cover more on that later)

The 4th and 5th measure, when played properly, will have a "climbing" sound as it walks up the scale.

Then in the 6th measure, we go back to the open "E" chord and alternate that with some bass note picking bends like we did earlier

In the 7th measure we go to the "B7" chord and employ some alternate bass not picking as we did before during the song.

Then we finally wrap it up with a slight bend preceeding the last "E" chord.

As you will hear, this lead progression works very closely with the melody and uses many of the same techniques we have already learned earlier.



Lesson 13 Summary

Keep this riff stashed in your little bag of tricks. It will come in handy later on. Practice using down strokes and keep each note clear and concise. Practice the string bend until you get just the right amount of pitch change.

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Jam Tip!

This is a great lick to whip out when you want to amaze friends and family with the progress you are making on the guitar!

Check it Out!

One of the things that made Folsom Prison Blues such a classic is this familiar guitar lick at the intro. This amazingly simple lick is one of the most recognizable in modern guitar history. Play it once and the listener knows exactly what song is to follow.